Wednesday, October 15, 2008

America's Best Dance Crew Tour Review

The next evolution of dance may very well involve white masks and gloves.

Saturday night at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, a sold-out crowd made it clear that the six-man crew known as JabbaWockeeZ was the reason many of them had bought tickets to Randy Jackson's "America's Best Dance Crew Live."

From behind the judges' table on "American Idol," Jackson learned that if you've performed on a reality show, people will come see you live. So when Jackson created "America's Best Dance Crew," an MTV dance contest in which a winner is selected from a dozen dance crews from around the country, he also launched a touring show featuring five of the best dance teams - or crews, if you will - performing highlights from the show, paying tribute to modern dance pioneers (hello, Michael and Janet Jackson) and making the fans scream with delight.

"America's Best Dance Crew" somehow crammed its first two seasons into a single year. The Season 1 winner, JabbaWockeeZ out of San Diego, was crowned in March, and Season 2 ended in triumph in August for the six-man Super Cr3w of Las Vegas.

Both champions are given ample stage time in the touring show alongside Season 2 competitors Fanny Pak of Los Angeles and A.S.I.I.D (And So It Is Done) of Detroit and Season 1's roller-skating dancers, Breaksk8.

As entertaining as all the crews are in this vaudeville show for a new millennium, JabbaWockeeZ - named after Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky" - is the crew with superstar charisma. Outfitted in their spooky Michael Myers-like masks, white gloves and sharp costumes, the six men of the crew move with a fluid elegance that separates them from the pack. Oh, they pop and break and do some incredible head spinning, but they elevate street dance to art form and give it more than a touch of performance-art weirdness.

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